2015 Helpmann Awards nominees announced

STC_Endgame 2015_Photo by Lisa TomasettiThe countdown to the premier celebration of Australia’s vibrant live performance industry is on following the announcement of the 2015 Helpmann Awards nominees.

The nominees were announced at simultaneous events in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, and Hobart by some of Australia’s biggest names of the performing arts sector, including Caroline O’Connor, Simon Gleeson, Wesley Enoch, Annette Downs, Michael Griffiths, and Suzie Mather.

Live Performance Australia (LPA) Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson said this year has been a remarkable year for live performances in Australia and is reflected in the vibrancy and calibre of the 2015 Helpmann Awards nominees.

“This year’s nominees across the 42 categories come from a range of disciplines and should all be congratulated for their immense display of talent and commitment to the live performance industry,” said Ms Richardson.

Opera Australia leads the charge with 24 nominations including Best Opera with Faust, and Teddy Tahu Rhodes for his performances in Don Giovanni and Faust. In Music Theatre, Les Miserables leads with 12 nominations, followed by Anything Goes and Once with nine each – with all three are up for the coveted Best Musical Award.

Sydney Theatre Company dominated the theatre categories with 15 nominations overall – with their production of Samuel Beckett’s masterpiece, Endgame receiving six nominations including Best Play, Best Director for Andrew Upton, and Best Actor for Hugo Weaving. Julie Forsyth, Todd McKenney, Sarah Peirse, Pamela Rabe and Teddy Tahu Rhodes all receiving double-nominations.

Judith Lucy, Matt Okine, Nazeem Hussain, Ronny Chieng and Sam Simmons are all vying for Best Comedy Performer Award, while Beccy Cole & Libby Donovan (The Cowgirl and the Showgirl), Camille O’Sullivan (Changeling), David Campbell & John Bucchino (David Campbell Sings John Bucchino), and Kim Smith (Nova Noir) are up for Best Cabaret Performer.

Sydney Dance Company has received 6 nominations including Best Ballet or Dance Work for Frame of Mind; while Brisbane based Expressions Dance Company have picked up 3 nominations for The Red Shoes including Best Choreography for Natalie Weir, Best Female Dancer for Elise May, and Best Male Dancer for Zack Zeising.

Byron Bay Bluesfest, Laneway Festival, Vivid Live 2015 and Womadelaide are up for Best Contemporary Music Festival, while Chet Faker, Jimmy Barnes, Kylie Minogue and Tina Arena are up for Best Australian Contemporary Concert. Vying for Best Regional Touring Production is Festival of Circa (Circa), Food (Force Majeure and Belvoir), Kelly (Queensland Theatre Company), and Sons & Mothers (Performing Lines and No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability).

Also announced on the night was the Best Special Event Award, presented to Perth International Arts Festival, in association with Royal De Luxe for The Incredible and Phenomenal Journey of the Giants to the Streets of Perth. Involving two giant marionettes searching for each other across three-days in Perth’s CBD, it captivated the city of Perth where over 1 million people viewed the spectacle as part of the Perth International Arts Festival.

The Helpmann Awards also incorporates the Brian Stacey Award for Emerging Australian Conductors which has this year been awarded to Jessica Gethin. She will receive a $10,000 prize as winner of the award. Since she first took the podium as the Western Australia Youth Orchestra Conducting Intern, Jessica has won praise from audiences and critics alike for her dynamic energy, outstanding musicianship and abounding presence on the podium.

Hosted by Todd McKenney, the 2015 Helpmann Awards will be presented at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre on Monday 27 July and broadcast live on Foxtel Arts. For more information and complete list of nominees, visit: www.helpmannawards.com.au for details.

Image: Sydney Theatre Company’s Endgame – photo by Lisa Tomasetti